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Power to the Public

September 13, 2010

On August 10, 2010 Dr. Laura Schlessinger, host of the self-help talk show ‘Dr Laura Program’ cross the lines of permissibility for what is likely to be the last time. A week after her continued use of one of Americas’ most controversial racial appellations, Dr Laura announced that she would not renew her contract in 2011. Talk show hosts such as Dr. Laura whose careers hinge upon their self inflicted controversies must know where to draw the line, there’s a point at which no Public Relations advisor could mend the public perception of an individual; and it seems that Dr. Laura has reached this point.

The root of Dr. Laura’s demise was when an Africa-American female caller on the talk show asked Dr. Laura what she should do when her white husband’s friends and family began to make her feel uncomfortable with their conversations pertaining to race. Dr. Laura told the caller in essence to not be so sensitive and to use the same racial jargon in response to them and engage in these conversations. This advice was noted and could possibly be condoned; but Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s use of a particular racial epithet over ten times in the conversation was completely unprofessional and offensive.

Dr. Laura has a history of making remarks that have been taken offensively by minorities, especially those of alternative lifestyles which she repeatedly referred to as ‘biological errors’ and ‘deviant’. In March 2010 Gay and Lesbian activist launched in an effort to prevent Paramount Television from giving Dr. Laura her own TV Show next year. The campaign was a success and stood as a testament to the ever-growing influence the public has on the media in large part due to the exponential growth of digital two-way media.

I chose to critique this particular incidence because it is evidence of the ever narrowing gap between minorities and the majority in America. This convergence can be attributed to the accessibility to digital media by both parties. Dr. Laura put it best when she told Larry King that if someone disagrees with you they don’t only have the power to condemn your actions; they can ruin your career. We are no longer confined by the old order of Web 1.0 and the Magic Bullet Paradigm, today’s public has the opportunity to voice their opinions thanks to the Public Relations oriented two-way communication media outlets which now exist.

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